The Problem with Fasting

The Problem with Fasting

Lent is fast approaching! For those of you that are unaware, Lent begins on Valentine’s Day this year. That makes me giggle. Then cry.

As a Catholic, I am asked to fast (two small meals and one medium meal with no snacks) just twice a year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

I will be gut honest with you: I have never ever liked to fast.

I have never been very good at it so I have never sought it out. I have never tried to put it into my weekly schedule. I have not watched the DVD series a faithfully-fasting friend gave me.

The Problem with Fasting? Well, I hate to point out the obvious, but when you fast you don’t eat. That sounds awful. I love food and I make sure that I eat on a fantastically regular schedule.The Problem WIth Fasting

Yesterday a priest more or less challenged me on my thinking. He didn’t KNOW he was challenging me; he just told me that as Christians, we must fast.

He gave many good reasons including the little one that Jesus said so.

I spent the afternoon wrestling with my humanity.

I may have pouted.

I finally got quiet and downloaded a recommended booklet simply titled: Fasting.

It was written by Fr. Slavko, the priest that worked with the visionaries in Medjugorje. He explains why we should fast and the whole book is geared to encourage us to do so.

So let’s talk about you. Do you fast on a regular basis? If so, how? What got you started? What is your practice?

Do you have any resources that you’d recommend for a food addict like me?

As you can clearly see, the Problem with Fasting isn’t actually FASTING.

The problem is me. I only see the negatives in fasting. I have not explored or even considered the positives.

I don’t have any answers. Yet. But I am willing, I think, to go on a journey of learning how to fast this Lent. Your input is welcome.

Lori Doerneman

Lori Doerneman

I love my marriage consummated and my Jesus consecrated. I also love seeing the eternal in the ordinary tasks of every day life. That's why I write.
Lori Doerneman

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4 thoughts on “The Problem with Fasting

  1. Matthew Kelly talks about fasting regularly in his books. I love his perspective on fasting giving us freedom. Our bodies are loud, demanding masters. They cry out, “I’m hungry! FEED ME!” ” I’m sad. FEED ME!” “I’m having a craving. FEED ME!” When we fast, we develop strength to become Master of the Tyrant. We become free of the Tyrant. We are then free to choose the good of food, rather than a slave to the demands of our body.

  2. Food fasting was always a puzzle for me, because I am hypoglycemic. So, if I go too long without eating (enough) I get sick. Well, at least I FEEL really sick. I get the shakes, headache, and start feeling like I’m going to be sick to my stomach. So, the “prescribed” method of fasting, which you note in your post, never worked for me, and I just felt overwhelmed with guilt because I did eat in between those mini-meals.
    Then a priest counseled me by saying that because I had this medical condition, what I was doing was ultimately okay–as long as I never ate to satiety.
    In other words, if I needed to eat, as opposed to taking to bed sick, then I should eat. The key element was that I should never eat “enough.” I should always feel a little hungry–just not hungry enough to make me sick.
    But I fast in other ways, too. I don’t listen to the radio/podcast/Spotify in the car. We’re not talking 5-7 minute runs here, but a lot of 20-45 minute, across town runs.
    I also fast from sweets, which is really hard for me. I see others who fast from FB or other social sites. Some could fast from shopping; not me, though, because I hate to shop. Sending me to shop is like penance for me.
    Ultimately, fasting is about denying ourselves something we want. We want to feel full, we want to enjoy music, we want to have new things.
    But those are not the things that should satisfy us. There is only One who truly satisfies, and we should be seeking him out when our tummy rumbles, or we want to fill the silence in the car, or we are enticed to practice some retail therapy.
    Don’t get me wrong–I struggle like everyone else. But I try to remember that Jesus had struggles, too, and unite mine with His.

  3. I’m with you on the love of food! I fast on the two days required and on Friday’s during Lent. It’s a struggle!! For me it’s more about cutting out some of the extras–like when I really want to stop for that coffee, or fries, or whatever–you don’t. You “hurt” just a little. It makes you think about why you are denying yourself this one seemingly little thing that you care about. Often during Lent my brain tells me “Oh good grief girl! Suck it it up–Jesus died on a cross for you and you can’t skip this one measly candy bar?!” It’s not perfect but it’s a start!

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